Ten years after his tenure with the Wizards abruptly ended following one forgettable season, Leonard Hamilton has found a way to contribute to his former team. Chris Singleton, considered the best perimeter defender available in last Thursday’s draft, credited Hamilton with helping him stay committed defensively during his three seasons at Florida State. Hamilton demanded consistent effort from his players.
“Just you’ve got to dictate on defensive end,” Singleton, who slipped to the Wizards at the 18th pick, said Hamilton told him. “You can’t always let the offensive player just get where he wants and like. That and you’ve got to scout teams. That’s one thing we did a lot. We broke down teams and that’s something that he said was going to be in the NBA and something I’m going to have to get used to. I think he made me most prepared than any other spot I would have went to.”
Hamilton issued a statement about Singleton, who became the third first-round pick that he coached at Florida State, joining former Wizard Al Thornton (2007) and New York Knicks guard Toney Douglas (2009). “Being selected by the Washington Wizards is a great situation for Chris,” Hamilton said. “He has a very unique and special opportunity to realize his dreams of playing in the NBA and we couldn’t be happier for him and his family. Chris will have the chance to be an impact player on a team that is talented, athletic, hungry and willing to work just like Chris has always been. We are confident that Chris will continue to improve as a player and will be an outstanding NBA player.”
Florida State was the only school to have athletes selected in the first round of the NFL, NBA and MLB drafts this season. It is the fourth time the Seminoles have done it, accomplishing the feat in 1993 (when current Wizards assistant Sam Cassell went to Houston), 1994 and 1995.
JaVale McGee offered his support of Singleton on Twitter, mostly because he saw him in action last summer when Team USA scrimmaged against the select team and Singleton spent time guarding Chauncey Billups, Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo, Kevin Durant and Rudy Gay -- and held his own. At least one NBA executive felt that the Wizards should’ve pursued Singleton with the sixth pick to form a wall of long-armed defenders with Wall and McGee, who finished second in the league in blocked shots last season. He had 136 blocks in his career with the Seminoles.
“We’re long and athletic and quick,” Singleton said. “I feel like we’re going to push each other. We’re young and talented. Our defensive talent is one to be reckoned with.”
Singleton said the Wizards told him that they were excited to get him, especially since they didn’t expect that he’d be there for them. “There was consideration that they would take me at six, just because of what they think I can do and my potential. I’m right here now,” Singleton said. “They just liked my overall game. In my workout, they saw what I’m capable of doing, especially with the ball. But just in terms of they know I’m going to bring my defense, and that’s one thing that probably just put me in the position where I am today is my defense. I’m not going to take that for granted and I’m going to continue to work on that, and my offense is going to rise.”